Day Trips

While you are in western North Carolina, you might wish to explore these other fun destinations that are located within a half day’s drive of Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather is a member of the Southern Highlands Attractions. We recommend all attractions in the SHA family for their high standards of quality and service.

Biltmore Estate

Biltmore EstateLocated 1.5 hours southeast of Grandfather Mountain in Asheville, NC, Biltmore Estate includes America’s largest home, gardens, winery and farm village, and the Inn on Biltmore Estate.

Built in 1895 by George W. Vanderbilt, the 250-room Biltmore House was inspired by European chateaux. Magnificent gardens, designed by Central Park landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, range from formal to more natural settings. Annual events include Festival of Flowers, Summer Evenings Concerts, Harvest Home Celebration, Christmas at Biltmore Estate and Candlelight Christmas Evenings.

Open daily, including Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Located on U.S. Highway 25 just north of Exit 50 or Exit 50B off I-40 in Asheville, NC. 800-543-2961 or 828-225-1333.

Chimney RockChimney Rock Park

Chimney Rock Park is located 1 hour, 45 minutes southeast of Grandfather in Chimney Rock, NC.

From the 315-foot monolith known as “The Chimney” you’ll enjoy spectacular 75-mile views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. The park features hiking trails for all ages, a 404-foot waterfall, a 32-foot climbing tower, a variety of special events such as guided hikes and workshops, and of course, Chimney Rock.

Open daily year round, weather permitting, except Christmas and New Year’s Day. Highway 74-A at Chimney Rock, NC. 800-277-9611 or 828-625-9611.

CherokeeCherokee, North Carolina

Cherokee, N.C. is located 2.5 hours southeast of Grandfather Mountain on the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, a federally recognized tribe, Cherokee is a center of cultural and historical attractions that celebrate the Cherokee heritage.

Each summer the “Unto These Hills” outdoor drama tells the history of the Cherokee. The Museum of the Cherokee Indian provides an educational and interactive experience where concise, chronological stories retrace the 11,000 year documented history of the Cherokees. The Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, Inc. is the oldest and leading Native American Arts cooperative in the United States. Step back into an authentic working 1750s community at the Oconaluftee Indian Village.

Most attractions are open daily year round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days. Highway 441, Cherokee, NC. 800-438-1601.

gsmrrGreat Smoky Mountains Railroad

Located 3 hours southeast of Grandfather Mountain in Bryson City, NC.

Journey by train through the colorful countryside of the western North Carolina mountains! All trains depart from Bryson City. Special events include Charlie Brown’s “The Great Pumpkin Patch Express” and holiday favorites such as “The Polar Express.”

Open year round. Reservations suggested. 800-872-4681 or 828-586-8811.

Nantahala Outdoor

Nantahala Outdoor Center

The original whitewater outfitter, Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) offers whitewater rafting on six southeastern rivers: the Nantahala, Pigeon, French Broad, Ocoee, Chattooga, and Nolichucky.

Open March through November. 800-232-7238

Old SalemOld Salem

Located 2 hours east of Grandfather Mountain in Winston-Salem, NC.

Old Salem Museums & Gardens is America’s most comprehensive history attraction. Three museums — the Historic Town of Salem, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and the Old Salem Toy Museum — engage visitors in an educational and memorable historical experience about those who lived and worked in the early South.

Open daily Monday except Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 888-653-7253 or 336-721-7300

Barter TheaterBarter Theatre

Located 1.5 hours north of Grandfather Mountain in Abingdon, VA.

Named for the practice of “bartering” or offering goods in exchange for the price of admission, the Barter Theatre has entertained audiences with professional actors in classic roles since the height of the Depression in 1933.

Open year round. 276-628-3991.